Blues and Crusaders stamp their authority

GettyImages 1390432407

The Brumbies head the table, going into their bye week, with the Blues and Crusaders four points back on 27 while the Reds are fourth on 26 points.


The Highlanders achieved their first win of the season beating Moana Pasifika 37-17 while the Hurricanes pushed the Crusaders to 24-21. The Blues kept the Chiefs scoreless for the first time in 26 years of Super Rugby games between the two.


Highlanders 37 Moana Pasifika 17


Conceding 15 penalties to six by the Highlanders, Moana Pasifika paid the price as the home team unleashed their driving lineout combinations to put distance between themselves and the northerners to claim their first win of the season. It was a heavy lesson for a side that showed it could score quality tries, centre Levi Aumua's effort being a fine example of Moana Pasifika's ball-running ability. But even with Mitchell Hunt having an off night with his goal-kicking boot, it didn't matter as the Highlanders were able to build position by kicking to the corners. That brought their lineout drive into play allowing hookers Andrew Makalio and his substitute Rhys Marshall to share three of the Highlanders six tries. Wing Mosese Dawai picked up two with strong running while replacement halfback Folau Fakatava was quick to sight his chance around a goal-line ruck and he made no mistake.


Highlanders 37 (Mosese Dawai 2, Andrew Makalio, Folau Fakatava, Rhys Marshall 2 tries; Mitchell Hunt 2 con, pen) Moana Pasifika 17 (Levi Aumua, Tima Fainga'anuku tries; Christian Lealiifano 2 con, pen). HT:17-10



Western Force 21 Rebels 22


On the road to Perth, the Rebels had to respond to the loss of second five-eighths Raymond Nu'u in the 53rd minute but despite scoring only one try in the game, they took advantage of Force infringements to score from five penalty goals, three to first five-eighths Matt To'omua, and two to fullback Reece Hodge. Wing Manasa Mataele played a big hand in providing thrust for the home team but halfback Ian Prior had an off night with the boot and none of their three tries were converted. Both teams now have two wins, the Rebels consecutively.


Western Force 21 (Manasa Mataele, Kyle Goodwin, Brad Lacey tries; Ian Prior pen; Jake Strachan pen) Rebels 22 (Jordan Uelese try; Matt To'omua con, 3 pen; Reece Hodge 2 pen). HT: 5-16



Hurricanes 21 Crusaders 24


Hurricanes bosses wanted an 80-minute effort to remain competitive and they got it, but not the win, although they finished hot on attack when the Crusaders scrambled a defensive retort at a five-metre lineout to deny the Hurricanes a last chance. That encapsulated the manner of the Crusaders' win. Their defence was given another rigorous test, but it proved solid when required while the Hurricanes conceded four tries. The Hurricanes were ahead at the turn, by a point. Typically, it was the Crusaders' continuing ability to take their opportunities when they occurred that ensured the win. The fact the Hurricanes were still in at the end was down to a try denied the Crusaders moments earlier by the TMO, control of the ball being lost in set-up play.


Hurricanes 21 (Du'Plessis Kirifi, Josh Moorby tries; Jordie Barrett con, 3 pen) Crusaders 24 (Will Jordan, Quinten Strange, George Bridge, Ethan Blackadder tries; Richie Mo'unga 2 con). HT: 18-17



Chiefs 0 Blues 25


Defensive dominance, and a first five-eighths display of the highest order from Beauden Barrett. provided the basis of a record win at Hamilton for the Blues. It was the first time the Chiefs had failed to score in 26 years of games in the northern derby. This was despite a 90-64 ruck advantage, only having to make 118 tackles compared to 151 by the Blues and a 19-10 lineout dominance. But, the Chiefs were denied tries three times by the TMO. Wing Etene Nanai-Seturo crossed twice, his first disallowed for earlier obstruction, and his second by a lick of sideline paint which his arm brushed a millisecond before he grounded the ball. Hooker Samisoni Taukei'aho also lost the ball, courtesy of prop Ofa Tuungafasi's cover tackle, as he went to score just before halftime. The Blues at that stage had only 13 men on the field as lock Luke Romano and halfback Sam Nock shared the sin-bin for around seven minutes. They also lost replacement prop Marcel Renata in the second half. But it was a demonstration of how much the night belonged to the Blues that the Chiefs, who had only 20 percent of possession in the first half, couldn't take scoreboard advantage. And Barrett was control personified, shepherding the side through those stages when numbers were reduced, by unleashing some outstanding kicks, the most profitable setting up a length of the field second try for flanker Tom Robinson, who was on the end of a well-placed Barrett cross-kick.


Chiefs 0 Blues 25 (Tom Robinson 2 AJ Lam tries; Stephen Perofeta 2 con, 2 pen). HT: 0-13



Fijian Drua 12 Brumbies 33


Back at the head of the points table, albeit having played an extra game, the Brumbies literally rolled over the Fijian Drua with their maul the foundation to  all but one of their tries. The other was scored in the aftermath of a ruck to put fullback Tom Wright over for his second, and a bonus point, on fulltime. Up 19-0, before the Drua could respond, the Brumbies were never threatened although Drua wing Onisi Ratave, who wasn't in the named team, responded with two tries, but to no effect on the scoreboard.


Fijian Drua 12 (Onisi Ratave 2 tries, Teti Tela con) Brumbies 33 (Tom Wright 2, Cam Clark, Billy Pollard, Connal McInerney tries; Nic White 2 con; Ryan Lonergan 2 con). HT:0-12



View all